So, my birthday is at the end of this week. I guess I’m excited. My parents are planning this big party and all my friends have promised to come, but I have this report due for my Modern Moralities class. I tried to weasel out of it, but Mrs. Kirchner is a real hard-ass. Two thousand words about ‘What the Apocalypse Means to Me.’ I’m supposed to interview my family, collect a bunch a video references, a real nightmare. I hate this kind of crap. I mean, who cares about the Apocalypse, anyway? Like this has any bearing on my life. My plan is to knock out the outline, ask my parents a couple questions and get it out of the way. I do not want this on my mind all week.
Jessica, my homeroom best friend, can’t come to the party because her family is going out of town. I told her it was okay, but if she doesn’t come than Ryan won’t come. I don’t like Ryan or anything, but if Ryan doesn’t come than Evan won’t come and I do like Evan. With my luck, nobody but the ‘Jennifers’ and Charlie from down the street will show up. I told my mom not to invite Charlie. I mean, we were friends in third grade, but he got all fat and always smells like cheese. And don’t get me started about the ‘Jennifers.’ There were never four girls with the same name who all dress alike that were more annoying in the whole history of the world. All they ever talk about is what they did last weekend together and what they’re going to do next weekend together. I swear, when it comes time for them to lose their collective virginity they’re going to have to schedule an orgy. They won’t have any trouble finding four boys desperate enough to take them on, that’s for sure. Who knows, maybe one of them can hook up with Charlie and he’ll stop hanging around my house.
Mom’s making a big deal about the decorations and the food for the party. My dad just complains about how much it’s all going to cost. I know we’re not rich or anything, but all I want is what any girl turning fifteen wants, a Ferrari and a halfway decent hooker. Dad keeps hinting that I’m going to be stuck with Mom’s old Porsche, but I know he’s just trying to play up the suspense. He can be such a drama queen. But I know how this game is played. I’m supposed to get all pouty and mope around like I believe him. So, to make him happy, I spent all evening thumbing through escort catalogs and refusing to talk to him. But I heard him snickering and whispering to Mom every time he left the room. Sometimes I wonder who the parents are in this family.
I maintained my vow of silence all through dinner. Then Dad started in with one of his art-fart lectures and I couldn’t take it. He put his fork down and said, “Melissa, times were very different when your mom and I were your age. Fifteen-year-olds didn’t expect to get Ferraris for their birthday. Hell, kids didn’t drink, drugs were still illegal and retards and crazy people still had civil rights.”
I couldn’t just sit there and let him go on and on. “Just because it wasn’t legal didn’t mean kids didn’t drink and do drugs,” I told him, “and what’s the point of giving rights to people who can’t understand them?” This made my mom laugh so hard she almost dropped the plate she was carrying. I love it when I really get my mom going.
Dad didn’t want me to see him smile. “All I’m saying, young lady,” he said as a grin tugged at the corners of his mouth, “is you should be more appreciative of how good you have it. I’d be willing to bet that some of your friends haven’t gotten high on all seven continents.” I hate it when he throws family vacations in my face, besides, once all the ice melted, Antarctica could barely be called a continent. I shot him my best scowl, stood up and stormed up to bed. What was worse, he was probably right. No way the ‘Jennifers’ have ever tripped overseas.
Upstairs, I logged onto to my computer, yawned my way through Dr. Fiedler’s lesson, logged off and went to bed. Why do I have to NetLink with Dr. Fiedler, anyway? Jessica’s masturbatory tutor came right to her house three times a week. Hands on, people! No way Jessica’s family is richer than mine. No way.
On the way to school this morning, the bus was detoured by construction and we ended up driving through Poor Town. They were rioting like always, yelling, telling us we were all whores, throwing burning bottles at the bus. Poor people are so stupid. No wonder they’re poor. I flicked a bird at this old guy in a wheelchair and then remembered I forgot to ask my parents about the Apocalypse. My dad had waxed all nostalgic and I’d forgotten all about the interview. Mrs. Kirchner was going to grill us about the report and I hadn’t done crap. Oh well. I’ll go to the library and do my video research. At least, I’ll have that out of the way. I have to remember to talk to them when I get home. This is already twice I have worried about this stupid report. My birthday week cannot be plagued by such tedium.
When we got to school, the outside of the bus was filthy and smelled like urine. Stupid and gross.
I told Jessica I was disappointed that she wouldn’t be at my party. Instead of pretending to be all broken up about missing it, she went on and on about how great her ‘fifteen’ was. She transferred in at the beginning of the year, so I hadn’t known her then. Jessica sure as hell didn’t ride the bus. She’s picked me up a couple of times when we had to be at school early for cheer practice. Her Maserati is vintage. She told me that she’d begged her parents for it, but I knew better. Nobody ‘wants’ vintage. It was kind of awful. It was loud and I could feel the road. I’d rather ride the bus, I’d never tell her so, I wouldn’t want to make her feel bad, but it’s true.
By the time I got to the library, all the terminals were full. I had to wait. I hate waiting. Miss Phoebe, the librarian (what a horribly pointless job), asked me what I was researching. I told her and she suggested I look in the hard copy section. I snorted a little, which was embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as it would be to be seen holding paper. I told her I’d wait and made a mental note to never speak to the woman again. A terminal opened up and I made a run for it. I found what I was looking for, downloaded everything that I could possibly need and an extra terabyte of data, to be safe. I do not want to have to go back. Not for this project anyway. I always thought it was stupid that historical data was NetLink disabled and temp/time restricted. I mean really, who was going to hack in and rearrange a bunch of boring dates. Either way, I had eight days before the data dissolved, by then I’d be done with this report, fifteen and probably able to show Dr. Fiedler a thing or two.
Miss Phoebe smiled at me when I left and I glanced around to make sure no one was looking before I nodded back. What was that all about? Are we in some sort of club now? Creepy.
After school I saw Evan standing in line for a bus.
“What are you riding for?” I asked.
“Oh, hi, Melissa,” he said. I love it when he says my name. “My parents suspended my license.”
“What for?” I asked. It must’ve been bad, my parents would rather die than ground me.
“I killed,” he said.
“No. Black grabbed my Rolex.”
“Ew! Why on earth were you that close to a black?” I asked. All of sudden I wasn’t so sure I wanted Evan to be at my party.
“I was out,” he said pointing at the grass bag on his hip. “I saw a black and thought I’d take his.”
“Crude. You know they don’t smoke the same? Right?” Nope. I definitely didn’t want him at my party.
“Yeah. But you know…”
“Yeah,” no, I didn’t. Little self-control, buddy. “So how long are you off wheels?”
“Suck.” Teach you to mingle, you moron. They have association ordinances for a reason. “Sorry about your ride,” I said as I climbed onto my own bus.
I had decided that I would interview my parents for the report as soon as I walked in the door. I could not have this hanging over me any longer. But wouldn’t you know that they’d gone out. Left me a note, a note. Couldn’t take two seconds and call, I don’t have this cellular interface implanted in my head for nothing. Damn. Now the report was all I could think about. I went upstairs and scanned through the video files. Most of it was just more blah, blah, blah. I wasted the rest of the afternoon watching variations of the same thing that was in my textpad.
While I was getting dressed at the end my lesson, I asked Dr. Fiedler what he knew about the Apocalypse. He got all weird and said, “Miss Frye, that is private matter that you should discuss with your parents.”
“It’s for a report at school,” I demanded. What was the deal with these people?
“I understand, but each family has their own beliefs and it would be inappropriate for me to meddle in such personal matters,” he was saying. I am sick of getting stonewalled by grown-ups on this issue. What was Mrs. Kirchner thinking?
“Fine, yeah. Goodnight, Dr. Fiedler,” I said and logged off.
I sat down at my desk and tried to put together some kind of outline. Between what we had covered so far in class, everything they taught you in world history and the twenty thousand video clips I’d downloaded into my head, I thought I had the gist of it. I really didn’t understand why everyone thought it was such a big deal.